15 February 2011
Perception is a Powerful Thing
February 15th, 2011
Questions to help diffuse the stress response:
Choose one a stressor in your life. Is this situation real? Can I handle this situation? How can I think about it differently?
One huge stressor in my life is pleasing others. Usually, the people that I most aim to impress and strive to get their validation are my parents. From a young age, I have looked to my elders to confirm my successes, validate my choices, and encourage the path I chose to embark on. When I feel that my parents don’t support a decision I have made, I get really down on myself and stress about how to change things. If I don’t make a change that pleases them, I live in constant stress and a cloud of guilt follows my every move.
This stressor is NOT real. My parents trust me enough to make my own life decisions, but are never hesitant to give their opinions and two cents about my chosen course of action. The feeling of guilt and my perceived disappointment live in my mind alone. As long as I’m not doing anything life threatening, my parents generally encourage me to make my own choices. However their advice and opinions always loom in the back of my mind, daunting me if I chose to go against what they think is right.
This stressor, like all others, is about perception. This is how I choose to feel about my parents’ opinions and this is how I choose to let myself worry. Getting another point of view or someone else’s opinion about a choice you make is great. It helps you to step out from behind your own biased screen to see the situation through a more objective window. Many times, it takes a lot of will power to maintain an even temper or not get overly emotional when someone reveals flaws or brings certain considerations to light. When my parents do this, especially with things that I feel very strongly about, I often break down and shut myself off. I don’t want to hear their advice or I feel it’s too invasive. I get very snippy and often provoke my parents with short, annoyed statements. I can make a conscious effort to absorb and consider their take on my decisions without getting upset. I should listen to everything they have to say, without interrupting them, and then give myself some alone time to mull it over before jumping to shut them down or prove them wrong. I need to practice not jumping to the defense, and learning to be a more even-tempered, considerate communicator. Sometimes opening your mind to what other, more experienced and removed people have to say can really inform better decisions. You just have to be open to it. But YOU control that.